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Cancer immunotherapy comes of age Ira Mellman, George Coukos & Glenn Dranoff Nature 480, 480–489 (22 December 2011) doi:10.1038/nature10673 Published online 21 December 2011 Activating the immune system for therapeutic benefit in cancer has long been a goal in immunology and oncology. After decades of disappointment, the tide has finally changed due to the success of recent proof-of-concept clinical trials. Most notable has been the ability of the anti-CTLA4 antibody, ipilimumab, to achieve a significant increase in survival for patients with metastatic melanoma, for which conventional therapies have failed. In the context of advances in the understanding of how tolerance, immunity and immunosuppression regulate antitumour immune responses together with the advent of targeted therapies, these successes suggest that active immunotherapy represents a path to obtain a durable and long-lasting response in cancer patients.